Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Help

The Help was not on my to-read list (yes I do have a to-read list, people with OCD like myself love lists), but was recommended to me by my once art teacher (who gave me my only fail grade in my school years) and who after over thirty years of not seeing or hearing from her, I now consider her (thanks to Facebook) a very good friend.

In a nutshell, I did not hate the book but at the same time I did not like it much. After only a few pages, I could not but think that this is a book about black maids telling how it was to work for white families in Mississippi back in the sixties, but it is obviously told by a WHITE woman.

Why this book was chosen to be made into a movie is a mystery to me. If Hollywood wanted to make a movie about this delicate issue, then Langston Hughes' "Not Without Laughter"- to give one example - would have been a much more poetic, genuine, and honest alternative.

I wonder if the choice was driven by commercial or racial reasons.

OK I have a confession to make, a few days after reading The Help, I was driving home from work and I saw the young man who helps with the house work walking in the direction of the bus station. I waved at him and drove home. Then I remembered a scene from The Help, and I found myself backing up, catching up with him, and insisting on giving him a ride to the bus station. In the four months he's been with us, I never did that before. I guess what I am trying to say is: reading The Help is not a complete waste of time after all.

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